Tag Archives: toddlers

Best Songs For Young Kids – “You’re A Grand Old Flag”

grand old flagFeeling patriotic?

Almost anyone can sing the chorus to this popular patriotic song that dates back to 1906.  But did you know it was originally written with the title – You’re A Grand Old Rag”?  Created by a popular composer of that era, George M. Cohan, this particular song was the first to sell over a million copies of sheet music as part of a musical revue called “George Washington, Jr.”.  Perhaps that makes it one of the first chart-topping hits of American history.

Here’s an animated video of the version that most folks recognize and enjoy.

But what about the original “Grand Old Flag?”  Why was the title “You’re A Grand Old Rag”?  The story is told that George M. Cohan found himself seated next to a veteran of the battle of Gettysburg from the civil war one day. The soldier had a worn and torn, but carefully folded American flag.  When Cohan asked about it, the vet replied – “Ah, she’s a grand old rag” and that became the original title of the song.   As time went on, many performers and groups objected to calling the flag a rag.  After several years, Cohan relented to popular sentiment and the song became “Grand Old Flag”.

If you look at the complete lyrics, there are some odd lines and references in the song.  It seems that the writer slipped the titles and lyrics to other patriotic or popular songs into this piece of music.  It was a clever way of sharing some of other songs that he used in his George Washington musical, such as “Yankee Doodle” or “I Wish I Were In Dixie” (Way down south in the land of cotton). And the lyrics “should auld acquaintance be forgot” is clearly from the old time classic “Auld Lang Syne”.

When this song is sung by kids or for kids, most people use the chorus only.  That’s probably because the two original verses have language that seems a bit outdated  to modern ears.  It would be hard to find anyone today that might say: “by gum!”, “I’m no cranky hanky panky” or” I’m a dead square, honest Yankee”.  Still, with all that said, the chorus of the song is a patriotic gem.  It’s easy to sing and shares powerful feelings of what it means to love and cherish your country and treasure one of it’s most honored symbols.

When I recorded a version of this song, I used old timey instruments. I played the spoons as the rhythm and had an old-fashioned jaw harp as well.  I remembered my uncles who had served in the 2nd world war using really simple instruments like this and how the song made them feel proud of their service to the USA.

Here are the most popular version of the lyrics from the chorus:

You’re a grand old flag,

You’re a high flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave.

You’re the emblem of

The land I love.

The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true

‘neath the Red, White and Blue,

Where there’s never a boast or brag.

But should auld acquaintance be forgot

Keep your eye on the grand old flag.


Daria’s Children’s song version of You’re A Grand Old Flag (complete with spoons and a jaw harp) at:



Amazon mp3




Downloadable lyric sheet:


George M. Cohan was a prolific songwriter as well as a playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer. You can find out more about him here:


Complete Lyrics to You’re A Grand Old Flag

By George M. Cohan

Verse 1

There’s a feeling comes a-stealing,

And it sets my brain a-reeling,

When I’m listening to the music of a military band.

Any tune like “Yankee Doodle”

Simply sets me off my noodle,

It’s that patriotic something that no one can understand.

“Way down south in the land of cotton”

Melody untiring,

Ain’t that inspiring?

Hurrah, Hurrah, We’ll join the jubilee!

And that’s going some, for the Yankees by gum!

Red, white and blue, I am for you!

Honest, you’re a grand old flag!

Verse 2

I’m no cranky hanky panky,

I’m a dead square, honest Yankee,

And I’m mighty proud of that old flag

That flies for Uncle Sam.

Though I don’t believe in raving

Ev’ry time I see it waving,

There’s a chill runs up my back that makes me glad I’m what I am.

Here’s a land with a million soldiers,

That’s if we should need ‘em,

We’ll fight for freedom!

Hurrah! Hurrah! For every Yankee tar

And old G. A. R.

Ev’ry stripe, ev’ry star.

Red, white and blue,

Hats off to you

Honest, you’re a grand old flag!


You’re a grand old flag,

You’re a high flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave.

You’re the emblem of

The land I love.

The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true

‘neath the Red, White and Blue,

Where there’s never a boast or brag.

But should auld acquaintance be forgot

Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

You can hear a 1906 recording of the complete song – sung by Billy Murray here:


Version of the entire song performed by the United States Air Force Band



Take A Nature Walk/Make a Recycled Rattle!

Nature RattleLooking for some fun activities for April to celebrate Earth Day?  This project combines getting outdoors, exploring nature and having some musical fun at the same time.  Here’s what you need for this eco-friendly project that is just as easy and as much fun as a walk in the park!

Any see-through recycled container, preferably with a large “mouth” opening

Curious kids

Backyard, park, beach or other great natural place to walk

Sturdy tape (like electrical tape) for sealing the instrument when completed

Rattles made from gourds, seeds, feathers and a donkey’s jawbone


Rattles are one of the simplest instruments to play and can be found around the world.  They appear in different forms and are made of some really diverse materials. Take a look at some of the examples here.  They can be made from dried gourds, seashells, clay, bark, coconuts, and a variety of other natural materials. Caixixi (pronounced “ka-she-she”) rattles from Africa are made from woven fiber.  In India, there are rattles made from colored palm fronds woven together in clever patterns – as beautiful to see as they are to hear.  On the coast area of Peru,

there’s rattle made from the jawbone of a donkey with the loose  teeth making the vibrating sound.  In short, people generally make instruments from materials that they have found in abundance near their home.  We are going to take that same approach in creating recycled “nature walk” rattles!


Since most families probably don’t have coconuts in their front yard or gourds or palm leaves drying in their ceiling rafters  – we’ll opt for materials that can be found in most homes – recycled containers.  Start with a clean, clear, see-through container with a lid and you are ready to go!

While walking in your backyard or the park, look for items that might make a wonderful sound when placed inside your recycled container and shaken. You can stop by your bird feeder for a handful of sunflower seeds, look for pebbles, acorns or small twigs.  Are there any small pine cones, dried berries or other seeds from plants you find?  If you are passing by a stream, you’ll find smooth pebbles that the water has polished for you.  By the shores of a pond or lake, you might find driftwood, shells from small fresh water clams or unoccupied snail shells. If you’re lucky, you might find a colorful feather or a unique rock to add, making your rattle truly special for you!

Did you find something you don’t recognize?  If you’re in a larger park or have one nearby, stop and talk to the naturalist or some of the park rangers, staffers or volunteers on duty.  They can often help you identify nuts, seeds, plants or other items found on your walk making this trip an educational exploration as well.

Two recycled rattles with birdseed, craft materials and beads.

Two recycled rattles with birdseed, craft materials and beads.

When you’ve finished adding items to your rattle, seal it with some sturdy tape, such as electrical tape.  This helps keep the contents inside and generally makes it a safer activity for younger children. Then what?  Then, it’s time to have fun!  Play your rattle along with your favorite music.  It will fit in with any music from slow and quiet to happy and upbeat – even wild and crazy tunes.

I particularly like to play my recycled rattle with music about the Earth or nature.  Some of my favorite songs are below such as “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands” and “Wild And Free”, about caring for dolphins, whales, manatees and creatures that live on the land as well.  But my rattle has a particular favorite song that makes it dance with joy.  It’s called:  “Be Kind To Your Web Footed Friends”.  Why?

Look closely and you’ll see that this rattle has a small mallard duck feather in it!

When To Introduce Music To Your Child?

When to Introduce Music To Your Child?

You’ve Already Begun!

One of the things that surprises and delights most new parents is how awake and aware their infant or young child is. Although they can’t walk or talk like an adult, it is still clear that they are responding to their environment; learning, growing and taking in what is around them. So what is the right time to introduce music…? The answer to that you’ve already begun!

Even while your baby was still in the womb, he or she basked in the beauty of your voice and moved to the rhythm of your heartbeats. So; without knowing it, you’ve probably already opened their world to the wonder and sound of music. Now it’s just a matter of building on that great foundation and exploring more ways that baby, Mom and the whole family can enjoy and share some musical fun.

So, let’s start with the obvious.

Music helps set the pace when you want to get things done and get moving. Your child will easily connect with the beat in the same way they’ve already begun to follow your voice, your tone of voice and your verbal cues. If you sing with them or tap out a rhythm, they will focus on the activity even more and it’s a nice way of drawing their attention to words or rhythms. And don’t feel self-conscious. Not only do you have a captive audience – you have an adoring one. Nothing will ever sound as sweet to a child as the sound of the voice of someone that loves them.

Best of all, music is just amazing when setting a relaxing tone for naptime or bedtime… for both grown-ups and children. Although it isn’t a cure-all, if everything else is in order, a sleepy baby can be lulled to dreamland with just the right combination of sounds as part of a bedtime or naptime ritual. And relaxing music you enjoy can create a quiet oasis for mom or dad – even if you have to get back up and keep going after your child has gone to sleep.

Favorite naptime or sleepytime music? I’ll tell you about some of mine in future blogs. But for now, I’d love to hear what you parents have as favorite quiet time music choices. Please comment, drop me a line and let me know.

Have a great and musical day!

Acabas de comenzar!

Una de las cosas que mas impresiona a los padres es  darse cuenta de cuan despiertos y concientes sus bebes o niños son. Si bien  no pueden hablar o caminar como un adulto, es claro que estan  respondiendo  a su entorno; aprendiendo, creciendo y absorbiendo todo lo que hay a su alrededor . Entonces cual es el momento indicado de introducir la música…? La respuesta es que  ya lo has empezado hacer.

Cuando tu bebe todavía estaba en tu vientre, el o ella se deleitaba con tu bella voz y se movía al ritmo de los latidos de tu corazón.  Así que sin saberlo, probablemente  tu abriste la puerta  al mundo  sorprendente  del sonido musical . Ahora es cuestión de construir sobre esta estupenda  fundación y explorar los diferentes caminos que el bebe, la mama y toda la familia pueden disfrutar y compartir un poco de diversión musical.
Así que, comencemos con lo básico.

La música ayuda a marcar el ritmo cuando tu quieres terminar algo y ponerte en movimiento. Tu niño se conectara fácilmente a este ritmo, de la misma forma que el ha seguido tu voz, tu tono y tus gestos verbales. Si tu cantas con el o tocas un ritmo, ellos tomaran mas interés a la actividad y es una bella manera de llamar su atención a palabras o ritmos. No te sientas cohibido. No solamente tienes  un publico cautivo,  tendras un entregado a ti. Nunca nada sonaría tan dulce  a un niño como el sonido de la voz de una persona que lo ama.

Lo mejor de todo, la música es  asombrosa cuando es colocada en un tono relajante para una siesta o a la hora de ir a la cama…  funciona tanto para adultos como para niños. Si bien no es la solución para todo, tomando en cuenta que todo lo demás este en orden, un bebe somnoliento puede ser llevado a la tierra de los sueños con la combinación correcta de sonidos, como parte de la rutina para dormir o para su siesta. Y una música relajante puede crear un oasis de tranquilidad para mama o papa -  a pesar de que tengas que regresar una y otra vez después que tu bebe esta dormido.

Música favorita para la siesta o hora de dormir? Te lo diré mas adelante en mis futuros blogs. Pero por ahora, me encantaría saber las selecciones de música que utilizan para momentos de tranquilidad. Por favor  comenta, escríbeme una línea y déjame saber.

Que tengas un estupendo día musical.


Tu tienes un bebe o un niño pequeño en casa. Felicitaciones.  Estas estática, contenta y probablemente agotada.

Lo ultimo que necesitas es agregar algo mas en tus tareas del día. Pero tengo una buena noticia. Creando música con, para o alrededor de tus pequeños puede ser un proceso que no solo despertara sus sentidos,  aumentara el poder de su cerebro, sino también creara un vinculo familiar -  además puede ser relajante, divertido y fortificante para ti. Este es uno de  los momentos  en que  al intentarlo siempre sales ganando. Mientras mas arte, música y creatividad traes a la vida de tu familia, cada uno de ellos  florecerá y crecerá cada día mas.

He creado este pequeño espacio para que tu explores    ideas divertidas para que tu día sea mas harmonioso y agradable.

Espero que disfrutes…Música para niños! Si quieres encontrar mas información acerca de mi, por favor visita mi pagina de música para niños, ganadora del 2009 Parent’s Choice Award- www.dariamusic.com.

Por  favor comparte tus ideas, sugerencias y  opiniones.

Acerca de DARIA

Artista multicultural, Daria (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) tiene uno de los mejores trabajos, el de viajar alrededor del mundo llevando su canto de paz. Ella a visitado 16 países, compartiendo su música con diversas comunidades; se ha presentado en la Exposición Mundial de Sevilla, España, campo de Paz en Arabia, Israel. Talleres de música en los barrios de Lima, así como también en las zonas rurales de Perú y en las reservas Indígenas de Norte America.

Su CD ha ganado cinco premios nacionales y sus canciones originales son utilizadas alrededor del mundo en “Enseñando Tolerancia” y ” Respetando a otros” . Su canción ” Yo tengo un sueno”   es usada en Estados Unidos para celebrar el día nacional de Martin Luther King.
Para mas información sobre DARIA, y otras fabulosas actividades musicales, por favor visitar su pagina de internet www.dariamusic.com.


You’ve got a baby, a toddler or a young child around the house. Congratulations. You’re ecstatic, you’re overjoyed and you’re probably … exhausted.

The last thing you need are more items on your to-do list. But here’s the good news. Making music with, for and around your little one can be a great process that not only awakens their senses, deepens bonds and increases brain power – it can also be relaxing, fun and nourishing for you, too. It’s one of those glorious win/win situations in life. The more art, music and creativity you bring into your family’s life – the more everyone will blossom and grow.

I created this blog as a nice little space for you to explore some fun ideas to make your day more happy and harmonious.

I hope you enjoy …Tiny, Tapping Toes! If you’d like to find out more about me, feel free to visit my music website for kids – winner of a 2009 Parent’s Choice award – www.dariamusic.com.

And please share your ideas, suggestions and feedback – I can’t wait to hear from you!


Multicultural performer, Daria (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has the most awesome job of traveling the world and singing for peace. She’s traveled to 16 different countries to share music in communities as diverse as World Expo in Seville, Spain, an Arab Peace camp in Israel, musical workshops in barrios of Lima as well as remote villages of rural Peru and on US Native American Reservations.

Her cd’s have won over five national awards and her original songs are used around the planet in “Teaching Tolerance” and “Respecting Others” curriculum. Her “I Have A Dream” song is used widely in the USA to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

For complete information on DARIA, plus lots of great musical activities, check out her website at www.dariamusic.com.